Top 10 Prospect Matchups: Week Five

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From week to week, there are marquee matchups between powerhouse programs on the college baseball scene that catch the eye. These matchups have potentially significant ramifications when it comes to the standings and long term postseason hopes. But, when you look at the college game through the eyes of a scout, and look at some of the matchups within a series, some very different showdowns become all the more intriguing.

Each week here at D1Baseball.com, we will provide a ranking of the best and most intriguing matchups between prospects that college baseball has to offer. Some of these matchups will be specific in nature (two top pitching prospects squaring off) and others will be between two exceptionally talented rosters. Essentially, the rankings are considered on the basis of how significant the matchup is looking at it through a scouting and draft lens. The goal is to shine a light on some lesser known quantities that deserve attention from the scouting world, and to highlight very specific aspects of some of the already highly talked about, marquee series from around the nation. Although professional scouts are currently focused on 2016, we also consider the 2017 and 2018 draft classes for the purposes of this list.

(This is not a ranking that reflects the overall rankings of teams in our weekly top 25. It’s a ranking of specific matchups that are particularly intriguing to scouting community.)

1. Missouri @ Florida – Houck vs. Puk

With conference play underway, there is no shortage of outstanding pitching matchups happening across the nation. But, this one might have the most compelling storyline from a scouting standpoint. A.J. Puk has a 93-96 mph fastball, a hulking frame, a nasty plus breaking ball, and he throws from the left side. So, naturally, scouts are looking at him as a potential 1-1 candidate this June. They are simply looking to see more consistency and command. And, he’ll have a chance to show that against a strong Missouri lineup, a lineup that has hitters that can pose a challenge for him. On the other side is Missouri sophomore RHP Tanner Houck, who looks like he’s becoming the next Aaron Nola of college baseball. As consistent as they come, and often showing pinpoint command of his fastball to go with his deception, Houck is already positioning himself as a top five overall type candidate for the 2017 draft. Houck has a heavy, bat breaking life on his 91-94 mph fastball and he gets swings and misses on an 81-83 mph slider. He’ll have his hands full against the Gator lineup, but he could have the upper hand on righty hitters like J.J. Schwarz, Dalton Guthrie, and Pete Alonso. Houck is no picnic to face in general, but can be extra difficult on righties.


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